Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Is comparing apples and oranges better than good analysis?

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 15, 2008

Apparently, Instapundit thinks so:

IS SELLING PEOPLE PORN worse than robbing them? Apparently, the Justice Department thinks so. Perhaps things will be better in this regard under the Obama Administration.

I sure hope not.  After the revolution I expect to still see Glenn online the 46 times a day I check his site.  This is notwithstanding the fact that, despite his considerable talent — and, of course, galactic power over the blogosphere and the personal lives of each and every one of us — he seems to be a sucker for awful comparisons.

A fruit is a fruit.

A fruit is a fruit.

This one is just ridiculous, based entirely on a Reason essay jumping off on the fortuitous juxtaposition  in a newspaper of two different sentences meted out to two different defendants with two different records by two different sovereigns in two different court systems by two different judges at the behest of two different prosecutors enforcing two different pieces of legislation aimed at addressing two different social policies.

Forget all that.  The rotten, crooked cop — who I would argue appears, without respect to any other sentence meted out to any other convict, to have been given a very light sentence — was not punished severely as the pornography seller with a record.

That proves… something!  Bush!  Religious zealot!  Go away!  Shoo!  Shoe!

It’s troubling enough that when it comes to his point of view about the social and policy utility of pornography, Glenn Reynolds throws his considerable analytical skills overboard to make a rhetorical point.  Of at least as much concern is his suggestion that this is a matter solely of political execution:  Not that a Democratic congress, which we have now, will agree with Glenn and weaken or revoke the laws against pornography — which it has been free to do for years — but that a Democratic President should, he suggests, instruct the prosecutors he appoints not to enforce those laws… or at least not without reference to how the local constabulary may be punished by state prosecutors for the sundry crimes its members may commit.

I’ve said this many times in these pixels:  This is not the way to argue in favor of a different policy.  It’s only a way of suggesting that you don’t really have such good arguments.

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